After She'd Gone

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Pub Date 18 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 18 Aug 2022
Head of Zeus, Head of Zeus -- an Aries Book

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Description

'An irresistible read' DAILY MAIL

Liv keeps a low profile in Sandefjord, Norway. She has never told her son about the secrets she carries or the life she lived before he was born. She will do anything to keep him safe.

Anastasia's life is transformed when she moves from Russia to Milan to work as a model. She's rich. She's desired. But there's a dark side to the high-pressure catwalk shows that she will do anything to escape.

Selma is a journalist in Oslo. She's investigating scandals in the modelling industry, but can't get her article published. Then a woman goes missing in Sandefjord. Now Selma must uncover the biggest story of her life . . .

Unsettling, gripping and glamorous, this is a timely and cathartic psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Claire Douglas, TM Logan and CL Taylor.

Why readers love Alex Dahl . . .
'Unsettling, layered, bold, unpredictable, dark' Will Dean
'Fast-paced and unsettling' Guardian
'It will leave you gasping for air' Rachael Blok
'A tense thriller that felt utterly real' Jane Shemilt
'This is in my top 5 book of the year so far' Reader review
'Kept me guessing from beginning to end' Reader review
'Alex Dahl is now one of my new auto buy authors!' Reader review
'I devoured it in two days' Reader review

'An irresistible read' DAILY MAIL

Liv keeps a low profile in Sandefjord, Norway. She has never told her son about the secrets she carries or the life she lived before he was born. She will do anything...


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ISBN 9781801108263
PRICE £20.00 (GBP)
PAGES 416

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Average rating from 67 members


Featured Reviews

I could not put this book down! Brilliantly written characters, twisted timelines, heart stopping fear and emotion, and suspense like you’ve never read before. Chapters alternate between characters and just when you think you can’t take it anymore, another character takes a turn at making your heart race. Finally it all comes together and for a moment that lightbulb moment makes you smile, until you plunge back into the story again and fear for your now beloved characters takes over. This book is all about the people and seeing the seedy side of the modelling industry through their eyes, as well as crimes committed by the power brokers of the industry. Thank you so much to Netgalley for the advance reader copy of this gem.

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This has kept me engrossed for the last few days. I love Alex Dahl's books and this lived up to expectations. While it does become obvious fairly quickly what the connection between Liv and Anastasia is, it is interesting to watch the plot unfold. I really enjoyed the different characters, particularly Adrian and Selma. The various settings too were very real. A great read.

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Single mother Liv would do anything for her son Adrian, she keeps a low profile in Sandefjord, Norway to help keep him safe.

Anastasia's life is transformed when she's moves from Yekaterinburg, Russia to Milan and starts modelling. Suddenly she's rich, but she learns there's a dark side to this life.

Selma is a journalist in Oslo looking into the unsavoury underside of the modelling world when she learns of the disappearance of a single mother and her son in Sandefjord.

Having read all of Dahl's work written in English, in my opinion this is her best work to date. We get a wide range of characters and there's some autism spectrum disorder and deaf representation (can't personally speak on the accuracy of the representation). This is a gripping dark, twisty and at times emotional (at one point I couldn't see the words through my tears) read.

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I loved this it was completely gripping. It was twisty, unpredictable and kept me guessing all the way through. It kept me on the edge of my seat, breathless all the way through.

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Oh my goodness! I have only just recently discovered Alex Dahl as an author but have added the other novels I’ve not read to my Kindle wish list. I was so thrilled to be approved to read this early as I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. The premise was an unusual one that I knew would hook me in & with twists & turns galore, I loved it. I have also pre-ordered it for when it is published. Would definitely recommend.

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An excellent psychological thriller that will leave you gasping for breath. Murder, mayhem and mystery that was hard to put down. The brilliant story is told through the eyes of Liv, a mother who will do anything for her son, Adrian her young son who battles with autism, Selma, an investigative journalist who cannot let a story go, and Anastasia, a catwalk fashion model in demand by the rich and powerful seeking a way to escape. Accolades to Alex Dahl and the team at Head of Zeus. Powerful, twisty and unsettling ... well worth five (5) stars.

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This book was intense from the first few pages. I loved the main character as she was written. Definitely someone not to mess with. Easy to read and full of thrills.

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Thank you to NetGalley, Alex Dahl and Head of Zeus for giving me the opportunity to read After She’d Gone in exchange for an honest review.

The cover intrigued me right away. It is simple, not too busy, clear but not giving any clues away if what to expect.

I was very sceptical at first, I have to admit. The first chapter felt like it was dragging, but the book quickly picked up.

The story is old from multiple point of views, first and third person. I have always been a sucker for the first person POV. We meet the main characters, mother Liv who hides her past from her young son Adrian, who is also a featured character. Then we have the young, once poor model Anastasia and last, feature journalist Selma.
The plot takes part mostly in Italy and a Norway. We get to see the dark side of Modeling, behind the glamour. A dark side. What I found especially interesting was Adrian who has special needs. I am on the fence with autism and some kind of mutism? Not sure anymore if it was mentioned, correct me if I am wrong. Not sure anymore if the diagnose was mentioned or if I “diagnosed” him. People with disabilities always hold a special place in my heart and I love reading about them. So plus points for that aspect.

I also liked that we got so many glimpses from different perspectives. The characters were well rounded and thought out. Sonia the whole book actually. I was sceptical at first, but this is a winner! Recently I have read very few five star books, this definitely is one!

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This book is an absolute winner. It expertly weaves the story of three women that culminates in a masterful plot. You absolutely will not be disappointed with this amazing read!

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I really really enjoyed this book. It hooked me from the very beginning and kept me hooked the entire time.

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Beautifully written and very tense,

After She'd Gone is a wonderful story that has lots of twist and turns!

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There are three main characters in this book and all of them intrigued me. There is Liv, mother of Adrian who is hiding secrets from her son which could change their lives. Then we meet Anastasia, a young model trying to build a career but who may be getting involved with the wrong man, how will this change her life? And then we have Selma, a young journalist hell bent on tracing the truth.

This book really does hold your attention and takes you in, a really strong storyline that keeps you turning the pages to find out what will happen to all these brilliant characters. Alternating chapters of the three main players keep you fully engaged, there is suspence and lots of twists that all lead to a fabulously satisfying ending.

I highly recommend this book to other readers and want to thank Netgalley, the author and publisher for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest unbiased review.

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This is a fantastically written and entirely engrossing read about the dark exploitative side of the modelling industry. The characters are drawn beautifully and the individual storylines are deftly woven. A breathtaking read I gobbled up to get to the end and now will read at a more leisurely pace to soak up the beautiful writing. Have already downloaded more by the author! A genuinely brilliant novel.

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Thanks to Netgalley and House of Zeus for providing this arc in exchange for an honest review.

This book is told from the perspectives of 3 women, Anastasia, a young Russian who has just been discovered for a modeling career; Liv, who is living a quiet life with her son in Norway; and Selma, a journalist who is investigating Liv’s disappearance even though everyone else thinks Liv simply took her son and ran.

This was such a welcome book after dnf’ing my last 2 books, which is more than I usually DNF in a year. This one held my interest from start to finish. I couldn’t figure out the exact connection between the stories and once I did, I still wanted to know how it all played out. I also love stories that take place in one or many exotic locations and this one was all over Europe and even into the Maldives. The author obviously has vast knowledge of these various destinations. Great read. I will keep this author on my radar.

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4.5 rounded up

The book starts in a dramatic, emotional and very tense way that jolts you and there’s very little let up throughout. This is one rollercoaster read.

We start in Sandefjord, Norway with a wonderful nine year old boy, Adrian Carlsen who is autistic and an elective mute in certain circumstances.
He adores watching the planes coming in and out of Torp airport. His mother Liv is loving and they share the most marvellous bond that warms your heart. However, it is apparent that Liv has a secret life of which Adrian is blissfully ignorant and which brings trouble to their door. Switch to Milan and the focus is on beautiful model Russian Anastasia whose fabulous looks draws the attention of major fashion houses but also of powerful men. Finally, there’s journalist Selma Ericksen (from ‘Playdate’) whose investigative journalism uncovers a horrifying world for some girls who believe they have found a route out of poverty through modelling. How do these characters and their stories connect?

Wow. I think this is Alex Dahl’s best book to date.
The portrayal of Adrian is outstanding as you feel his pain, his fear and his dread with his feelings seeming so raw and what the lovely little chap ends up going through breaks your heart as it’s all so powerfully palpable. Liv is clearly a wonderful mother and her love of Adrian shines brightly through the pages and everything she does is for him. The less I say about some of the others the better though there are unexpected surprises which redeems them.

There is an excellent sense of place, the atmosphere created is terrific with the cold of Norway matching the chill of events and as things heat up the focus is only on Italy. A very odd but undoubtedly unsettling sequence of events builds and the mystery grows around certain characters and your blood runs cold. The danger is intense there’s unbelievable cruelty as there are characters without a trace of humanity or morality.

It’s exciting, gripping, your jaw drops in places and hold your breath in others, you pray and keep your fingers crossed that justice will be served. It’s a dark intense tale with several twists that build to a satisfying end. I do figure out part but I’m so caught up in the drama that it matters not one jot.

Overall this is a very good thriller which I recommend.

With thanks to NetGalley and especially to Head of Zeus/ Aries for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.

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Oh my goodness! It’s a serious crime to give this book less than five stars but I have to warn the things you’re gonna read make your blood run extremely cold! The graphic violence, abuse, honest approach to trafficking, drugs, dark side of the fashion industry are only a few several triggering subjects you have to digest! This book is not for everyone!

The storytelling, characterization, the way of author’s unfolding the entire mystery were pure perfection! But I advise you also read the authors previous book: “ Playdate”: it’s about the mysterious disappearance of seven years old Lucia Blix who is last seen at overnight play date. We’re introduced to Selma Eriksen at first time in that book: she’s a unique reporter with her sharp investigating skills, at the spectrum, seeing things from different approach which help her to solve the crimes and bring justice.

In this story: Selma is back alongside highly interesting POVs, having a huge credibility as the person who brought Lucia Blix back at her home to unite with her family.

Here are the main POVs:
Liv: a deaf single mother, raising her son Adrian who is neurodivergent. Liv tells people she works as a cleaner but she seems like keeping secrets, hiding from someone, doing some shady business on computers she’s set up at a remote farm place she’s rented.

Her son Adrian: smart, introvert, loyal boy, being bullied and outcasted by his peers, living in outskirts of little Norwegian town, mostly spending his time indoors after school, suffering from loneliness till her mom comes home to talk with him in their secret language.

We’re also introduced to Anastasia, coming from impoverished part of the city, after losing her mom she’s rescued by her grandmother, being taken to a monastery in the wilderness of of Krasotski Maga. When she’s been discovered by a talent agent, her life completely changed. Now she’s in Milan, starting her dream life, modeling for Gucci, Bottega Veneta, flying on private jets for photo shoots in Maldives. But she has no idea everything comes with a price. And can she afford to pay it in expanse losing her dignity?

And Selma is already covering a story about the dirty face of fashion industry where the girls from small towns are discovered by talent agencies, turning into cat walking stars attending endless, mostly fruitless castings by day, and entertaining wealthy men at upmarket private clubs or house parties by night. But her story is revoked by the owner of the newspaper and her boss Olev sends her to investigate a mother and son’s disappearance story which connects her with Liv and Adrian.

Do you want to know what she will find out! Just grab your copy and start turning the pages!

Smart twists, so many what the heck, jaw dropping moments later, you will get your answers by screaming “ why I didn’t see it coming! Am I dump?”

Overall: this book is extremely tense. Things you’re gonna read will make hot extra nervous, agitated. But it’s also bold, dark, moving, gripping, unputdownable, well structured. It’s worth to go to the dark side!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for sharing this amazing digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.

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I was given this book by NetGalley for an honest review
What a book!
Antasia begins a modeling career and makes it big unlike some who try modeling and end up as escorts or worse. She is desired, he wants her perfect or there is abuse. She wants out.
Selma, a journalist is doing a report on modeling, drugs, girls as escorts, and girls that go missing.
Liv and Adrian are hiding out in Norway - when they suddenly go missing. What happened? Who took them? Can Selma save them? She must dig into the story and find a way!

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what a fantastic read, thank you Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review this book. I could not put it down.

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One isn't necessarily better than the other, and it's not always the case, but there is often something more urgent and frightening about a thriller that has some basis in real world events that involve human suffering. I'm thinking of something like Will Dean's The Last Thing to Burn, which had a case of people trafficking at the centre of it, and there's a similar kind of crime and human exploitation in Alex Dahl's After She'd Gone. Human trafficking can take many forms however and not all are obvious, even to the victim until it is too late. For some, they appear to have landed in a fairy-tale only for it to descend into a living hell with no escape.

That kind of crime may even be more frightening and contemporary in its concerns because it's dealing with young women being exploited and abused - and in some cases murdered - by members of a rich and exclusive set. Here we read about young beautiful women from Eastern countries who are being offered modelling careers, walking catwalks for designer brands, being jetted off to exotic locations for photo shoots and invited to exclusive parties. Few of them know what they are letting themselves in for, too dazzled by the extraordinary change of fortune of being dragged out of poverty in remote villages.

Selma - who was introduced by Dahl in her previous book Play Date - is a Norwegian journalist working on just such a story only to find it blocked from publication by the owners of the paper. There are clearly influential people who don't want something like this being reported, or perhaps there are concerns about litigation. Either way, the story is quashed and Selma is asked to cover an inquiry closer to home. It's a seemingly more mundane case of the disappearance of a deaf woman Liv and her nine-year-old autistic son Adrian, but there are strange elements to the disappearance, which seems more like an abduction. Selma might not have felt the need to dig too deeply into this but for the fact that she notices connections to the big fashion industry story she has been working on.

There are a few strands to After She'd Gone, all of which evidently converge, and do so quite dramatically and thrillingly. We get the insider perspective of the glamour and the horror of young women caught up in the modelling business from Anastasia, a young woman from central Russia who has been plucked from poverty and engaged to an Italian Prince. Evidently, there is going to be no fairy-tale ending, but there is growing surprise and horror at just how her story plays out. No less terrifying is the journey that Liv and Adrian undergo, and as far as Selma's investigation goes, time is clearly of the essence. Just how important and just how those stories intersect may not surprise everyone, but there are definitely some shocks along the way.

And, as I suggested, those shocks really hit home when you consider that they reflect the true lived experiences of many vulnerable young women. Alex Dahl - the author born in Oslo, half-American and half-Norwegian - succeeds not only in keeping the different international stands of After She'd Gone moving forward, each compelling in their own way, but the story manages to tap into the real human cost of exploitation, without falling into the trap of being exploitative itself. The author doesn't shy away from the true nature of the abuse that these women are subjected to, the traps they face and the often tragic outcome in what is a no less horrific form of human trafficking. This definitely gives the novel an edge of realism, which as it moves into more conventional thriller territory only intensifies what it at stake here.

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I received an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review

I loved this book more than her other books. Sex trafficking theme was very unique and engaging – I had to see how it would end. The characters were well rounded and the narrative felt believable. Gave me chills. Solid five

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Wow. I’m glad I started this book during time off from work because I couldn’t put it down!

It is told from four points of view - three strong, impressive women and a young boy who is bullied because he is different (the author introduced me to a new term - neurodiverse.)

Liv is a single mom living in Norway. She does everything for her son, Adrian. They live a secretive life and she keeps him safe - but from what we aren’t told.

Norway is also home to Selma, who is a gutsy reporter who has recently helped to solve a high profile missing person case. So when another person goes missing, she is intrigued and begins investigating.

Anastasia is a beautiful Russian young lady who is spotted and offered a modeling contract in Italy. That’s where the action starts as we explore the dark underbelly of the modeling industry and what happens to young ladies trying to succeed.

This is my first book from Dahl, but I will definitely read her more. Her characters and settings are well-described and diverse. She doesn’t go overboard with metaphors, yet still manages to create vivid pictures in the reader’s mind. She’s a very good writer and leaves twists along the way. Great ending, as well.

Thanks to Netgalley and Head of Zeus for a copy of this book.

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A thoroughly gripping murder mystery that I read breathlessly in 2 days. I couldn’t put it down. What a story! It’s almost a year to the day since I read my first Alex Dahl (‘Cabin Fever’), but this latest offering is even better. It’s a fast-paced, adrenaline-fuelled ride that takes place mainly in Norway and Italy. There are multiple character threads and interestingly multiple POV modes of narration, plus plenty of twists and turns and an explosive, climactic ending.
Utterly engrossing. Try it – you won’t be disappointed!

My thanks to NetGalley and, as ever, Head of Zeus for granting this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Unsettling, Atmospheric…
Liv and Anastasia. What exactly is the connection between these women in different parts of the world? Selma, a journalist in Oslo may well be about to find out as she investigates what is about to become her biggest story yet. With a perfectly crafted cast, well described backdrops and a keenly observed sense of time and place this intriguing tale is immersive from the off and successfully maintains an unsettling atmosphere throughout.

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It is rare for an author, especially a crime writer, to become better with each book he/she writes and more than often we watch impressive debuts lacking an equivalent continuity, every trace of the initial spark gone forever. Alex Dahl, one of the most promising representatives of contemporary Norwegian crime fiction belongs to that limited breed of authors who work their way up in terms of honing their craft as time passes by, always delivering books that are superior to their predecessors. Dahl had demonstrated her skills early on in her debut novel, A Boy at the Door, a haunting piece of psychological suspense featuring a female protagonist who tries, futilely, to keep her past in the past and never allow it to alter her seemingly perfect family life. The novel was a commercial and critical success showcasing a sensitive author who has a profound insight for the complex inner state of a woman in a state of crisis. The realistic approach and the humane characterization marked the beginning of Dahl's accession to the elite of the genre's authors in Scandinavia alongside some of the most respected names in Norway such as those of Karin Fossum, Gunnar Staalesen, and Thomas Enger. Her next two novels, The Heart Keeper and Playdate solidified and further amplified her reputation among her peers, paving the way to her best work until now, Cabin Fever, a claustrophobic thriller brimming with symbolisms and employing some of the author's trademark tropes mainly regarding the challenges that modern women face as well as the burden of secrets and their devastating consequences to the individual and those around him. Dahl is a writer who has her ear down to the ground and feels the pulse of her era, reflecting her acumen on page.

After She'd Gone signals a departure from the usual themes explored by the author, as in this latest work (publication date: October 4, 2022) she turns her attention to the machinations of organized crime and the social blight of sex trafficking, the manipulation and subsequent victimization of vulnerable women by nefarious men who often are part of the aristocracy or members of the upper echelons of their society. I bet that Dahl made an extended research on the subject as her approach is honest, almost visceral, never shying away from the disturbing facts and imprinting them truthfully on her novel. Thus, you are in for a nasty storyline that involves some of the most abhorring characters you've ever encountered in a psychological thriller and some vivid descriptions of abominable acts. For those who will think that this is not Dahl's style and doubt the efficacy of her plotting, think again as in this book there is not a grain of canard or laziness in regards to the handling of the story. Even though, some may find the sex trafficking motif to be overly appalling, there is no one who would be justified to say that the author is not on top of her game, having complete supervision over every element that comprises this novel. It is a multi-faceted thriller as there are many narrators, one of them "speaks" in first-person, who win the reader's empathy through the well-rounded characterization, so much unlike the majority of the genre's outings that insist on the dull, cardboard-like character description. Dahl's uniqueness shines in the way she handles the perspective of Adrian, a nine-year-old child who suffers from a severe form of autism, thus his parts pose a double challenge: the first is to attempt to look at the world through the eyes of a little child, and the second one to depict on page the difficulties and confusion that accompany autism. Nevertheless, the author succeeds and introduces one of the most moving children characters in the genre that I've ever met.

Apart from Adrian, who is one of the four narrators of the story, the other three fictional storytellers are Liv, Adrian's mother, Selma, a recurring character whom we first met in Playdate, and Anastasia, a young Russian woman who leaves her homeland in order to become a top model in the fashion capital of Europe, Milan. Selma, who played a critical role during the Lucia Blix case that shocked the little town of Sandefjord some time ago, is an investigative reporter who writes an article on the death of a young model who is found somewhere in the coasts of Italy, discarded as an unwanted object by a cruel industry in which immorality is the preferred way of life. When her article is rejected by her superiors and remains unpublished, she revisits Sandefjord in order to investigate another case of disappearance, this time a woman and her child, Liv Carlson and her kid Adrian. The case is first dismissed by the local authorities as the mother is known to be suffering from some sort of mental disease and she has vanished before, but Selma, fierce and persistent, is determined not to leave a stone unturned in order to discover the whereabouts of the two missing persons. We, as the readers, are informed from the first chapters that both Liv and Adrian have been abducted by different perpetrators and for different reasons. In order to solve the riddle, Selma will have to dig deep and unearth secrets that will alter her whole perspective on the case.

At the same time, we follow Anastasia's journey from the Russian town of Yekaterinburg to the flashy streets of Milan as she is picked by a scouter who invites her to Italy to become involved in the high-stakes world of modelling. After the initial rush and enthusiasm, Anastasia finds herself drawn to a shady world of depraved men who buy girls to use them as sexual toys and she will have to rediscover the strength in her in order to overcome some severely traumatic experiences that mark her attempts at a new life. The Anastasia sub-story is the most disturbing one, as it is in her parts that the reader dives into the murky waters of false glamor and flashy nothingness. Some parts are particularly hard to stomach so beware and be ready for some level of crudity. The many different narrative threads become intertwined as the plot moves forward in a studied, even pacing and there are a lot of surprises that may change your assessment regarding some of the major characters. In After She'd Gone, Dahl excels in the art of plotting as she succeeds in a risky venture in a way reminiscent of the work of the giants of modern crime fiction such as Gunnar Staalesen or Jo Nesbo. It is definitely the author's most mature work to date and the most satisfying of the five novels written by her. When I finished Cabin Fever the previous summer, I remember myself thinking that this time Dahl set the bar too high and I was not sure if she would continue her upward course of progress. The final result made me chastise myself for not showing the proper trust to one of the most charismatic young crime writers out there.

This is not a part of a series, so there is no need for you to have read the author's previous work, nevertheless those who had will be in a better position to detect the nuances and appreciate Alex Dahl's improvement and dedication to her craft. For me, reading this novel felt like breathing oxygen after a long time being let down by mediocre crime stories originating from the Nordic countries. There is no excuse for a Nordic noir aficionado to be oblivious of Dahl's oeuvre, but if this is the case then After She'd Gone would be a perfect place to begin the formation of your liaison with the Norwegian author. Her latest novel scores highly in every aspect and I can't find a flaw, something concrete that I could point out as such. The mixing of narrative techniques and the fragmented narration by a multitude of character suits perfectly a somber story that will prompt you to think and feel differently about certain realities of the modern world. As a loyal fan of Alex Dahl's work, I can only wait for her next novel and hope that it will be out some time soon. I want to thank Netgalley and the publisher (Head of Zeus) for providing a free ARC of this title.

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Captivating!

After She’d Gone is a dark psychological thriller about a mother and her child, a model, and a reporter. All are connected through a missing person’s case.

Liv and her son Adrian live a quiet life in Norway. Nine-year-old Adrian is neurodivergent, and as a result, he is bullied. Airplanes and his mother are his happy places, until he witnesses his mother's kidnapping.

Selma is an investigative reporter in Norway.

Anastasia is a model living in Milan and on the verge of becoming a star.

The narrative alternates between Adrian, Liv, Anastasia, and Selma's POVs. Their voices are unique, but Adrian’s chapters had my heart. Dahl captures his innocence, his fear, and his love for his mother. He is a lovely character.

All narratives come together to form a captivating and intriguing plot.

My main gripe is that when the storylines come together, the events are rushed and a little chaotic.

This heart-pounding, fast-paced, tension-packed read took me on a journey to Norway, Rome, Milan, and Russia. There are some twists and turns and some dark and disturbing content. I figured out the main twist early on, but it did not detract from my enjoyment.

After She’d Gone was my first read by Dahl. I went in with no expectations, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this book. The characters are compelling, and the mystery behind Liv’s disappearance had me turning the pages. I can’t wait to read my by Dahl in the future.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Told in first and third person, After She'd Gone is told in the perspectives of three very different women whose stories interconnect seamlessly. Not only that but it is told in first and third person. Author Alex Dahl's writing skills are unfathomable, her insight into human nature is brilliant and each word is organized with finesse. I cannot imagine transferring thoughts to paper with unsettling vividness, both haunting and beautiful . It is impossible to convey my thoughts lucidly as my mind has been blown to shreds!

Single deaf mother Liv lives in seclusion in Norway with her beloved nine-year-old son who is neurodivergent. Disabilities are written with lovely sensitivity. The unshakeable bond between mother and son is gorgeous, my favourite part of the book. Liv's life has not been easy, she tries to hide from her past but it catches up with her, causing physical and emotional agony to both her and sweet Adrian.

Selma is a noted journalist in Oslo who is disappointed to have an impassioned story of hers cut. She becomes involved in the case of her life as she researches the disappearance of a mother and her son and encounters dark criminal activity and secrets she did not see coming. Sins cast very long shadows.

Anastasia reluctantly leaves Russia for Milan for life as a model. Her initiation is incredibly difficult but she does what she feels she needs to do as she is financially strapped. She is revered and reviled and has what many would call the perfect life with loads of money, great beauty and is constantly in high demand. But her life is not as it appears on the outside. When money and material goods are stripped away a shell remains. All three women have secrets, regrets and hopes.

Engaging, engrossing, riveting and suspenseful do not even begin to cover it. Thriller readers ought to place this book at the top of their to read piles.

My sincere thank you to Head of Zeus and NetGalley for the privilege of reading this memorable rollercoaster of a book, absolutely top notch and unmissable.

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Great book by Alex here.
A riveting psychological thriller with twists and turns that had me engaged until the end.

You can tell how much Alex loves to travel with her vivid descriptions of architecture, scenery and daily life around the streets.


Very well written.

Best read sipping coffee with your legs dangling in the lake at your Villa.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Head Of Zeus for this ARC.

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After She’d Gone by Alex Dahl is a dark thriller with heavy topics. This isn’t a fun, breezy story so strap in and buckle up for this ride! After She’d Gone features multiple points of view and the book features locations such as Russia, Norway, and Milan. The story is tense!

When you start reading this, you won’t want to stop and after you finish, you will be thinking of the characters.

PLOT:

Unsettling, gripping and glamorous. A timely psychological thriller about the danger of beauty, the lure of power, and the fierce love of a mother for her son.

Liv keeps a low profile in Sandefjord, Norway: she’s just another tired single mother, trying to make ends meet. She has never told her son about the secrets she carries or the life she lived before he was born. She will do anything to keep him safe.

Anastasia‘s life is transformed when she moves from Russia to Milan to work as a model. She’s rich. She’s desired. But there’s a dark side to the high-pressure catwalk shows; the sun-baked Italian palazzos; the drink-fuelled after-parties hosted by powerful men. Soon, she will do anything to escape.

Selma is a journalist in Oslo. She’s investigating scandals in the modeling industry, but can’t get her article published. Then a woman goes missing in Sandefjord. Now Selma is about to uncover the biggest story of her life…

Don’t miss this one! Out on August 18.

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I’ve read others by Alex Dahl and really enjoyed this story. I caught the twist very shortly before the reveal which was well into the story. Would recommend.

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Unsettling, gripping and glamorous. A timely psychological thriller about the danger of beauty, the lure of power, and the fierce love of a mother for her son. The opening is atmospheric and completely absorbing. Immersive, pacy and unputdownable. Like a chess game with multiple layers and complex characters, all leading to a shocking, explosive ending. Brilliantly plotted, with a crisp pace and constant surprises.

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This is very well written but it was a little slow and dark for me. I empathized too much with Adrian and not enough with some others. It’s definitely a flavor of its own that many will love but it was not one I enjoyed reading.

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After Shed Gone is a dark psychological thriller about a mother and her child, a model and a reporter. All are connected through a missing persons case. This heart pounding, fast paced, tension packed read took me on such a journey. There are plenty of twists and turns and some dark and disturbing content. I kind of figure out one or two of the twists early on but it totally didn’t take the enjoyment out of it. This was my first read from Alex and I was honestly surprised with how much I enjoyed this read and I will be looking for more by him in the future.

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Thanks you Head of Zeus and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. IYKYK, my reviews are always honest.

IT CAME AND DID WHAT IT NEEDED TO DO. HONDA CIVIC RELIABLE IN CONTEXT.

SYNOPSIS

Liv is a mysterious women who is suddenly kidnapped along with her autistic son Adrian. Anastasia is a Russian model who came and conquered the fashion scene in Milan before falling in love. Selma is a doggedly determined journalist who won't quit until she figured out what happened to Liv and her son and how this ties to the underbelly of the fashion world.

MY OPINION

Before you choose to pick up this book, I want to be very clear: This is Norwegian Nancy Drew starring Selma the journalist. Police? What's that? Selma runs the show here. The police are only good for sweeping in at the last second and locking up the baddies when Selma has had enough. Otherwise, Selma Drew is leading the investigation into Liv's disappearance and unearthing the truth about Milan's glamorous fashion world. If you can't yeet all logic and reasoning out the window for this book, then it is not for you.

Next, this is heavy on the storytelling. Anastasia's storyline covers her climb to the top of the European fashion world, which I found particularly interesting. But I can definitely see people being very bored by this. If you're looking to be swept away to the glamour and glitz of Milan and Southern Italy, then you will enjoy this book. If you're looking for straight up THRILLZ with a z, then this is not the one. This is a story as much as it is a mystery.

ANyways. I found this an enjoyable afternoon read. I'm obsessed with Europe because the food, art, history, and fashion is on point, so I enjoyed "travelling" to Norway, Russia, and Italy. I'm also into fashion (even though my closet is primarily white tees, light washed jeans and of course, pink ski masks) so following Anastasia's journey was fun too. I didn't really care for Selma Drew, but she was the knitter who brought all the threads together. Her relationship with Olaf or whatever tf his name is was whatever because I literally pictured him as a dorky bald old man who thick rimmed glasses who loves to wear bike shorts on the reg. But I digress...

An enjoyable lil read... but please read my review carefully before you pick this up and then come into my comments saying WOW THIS SHIT SUCKED YOU FOOLED ME!!!! (No one has ever done that because ya'll aren't animals but still lol...)

PROS AND CONS:

Pros: takes place in Europe, interesting look at the fashion industry, enjoyable, easy to digest read, has some edge to it if you require thrillz

Cons: requires extreme suspension of disbelief, romance is a lil cheesy but I have a piece of coal for a heart so take that as you will

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AFTER SHE'D GONE
BY: ALEX DAHL

This is a psychological thriller that I devoured because there is some beautiful writing especially having to do with the settings and landscapes in the various Countries. What initially drew me to want to read this very dark plotted novel was because I thought that it took place just in Norway. Some of it did as in the beginning. Having enjoyed Kristina Ohlsson's re-read that I reviewed years ago, I discovered that was #5 in the series that ended. I will read the first four after I finish my Net Galley commitments. She hasn't written anything new in years so I thought I would try Alex Dahl's new novel called, "After She'd Gone". This was very long and it seemed to drag on a little too much for my taste. As I write this review I am for the first time ever still debating how many stars I honestly think is fair and honest. Every other novel I read I knew immediately how many stars to allocate before I started composing my review. So, this is a major deviation to how I usually can decide that after reading a book's final line.

Admitting right away that I loved the atmospheric descriptions I didn't feel comfortable with the subject matter having to do with the human trafficking of young women through a shell modeling agency. Sure, they started out from modest homes, and some were showered with the super rich designers like Gucci, Vogue covers and when the rich and powerful older men tired of them they were given drugs and developed addictions. I did enjoy reading about the glamorous lifestyles and the top designers and lavish clothes and handbags. I didn't like the violence and the abuse.

This was a graphic at times with the violence and abuse which I don't enjoy. I found that there was non-stop action which kept my interest. It as I mentioned seemed in the middle to be bogged down, but looking back it might have needed what I thought felt off to tell the whole story from four points of view.

It begins in Sandefjord, Norway with nine year old Adrian who is a boy who is bright, but Autistic or Biodivergent who gets picked on at school. He loves airplanes and his kind teacher Marie indulges him. His mother Liv Carlsen goes to work, but it is evident how much she loves her son, Adrian. It's just the two of them in their isolated home. Liv has told Adrian that his father is a very bad man and he is. Adrian feels different from the other kids at school, but to his mother and his teacher Marie he is very special. I loved Adrian, also. He was innocent and pure and he loved his mother just as much as she loved him.

"A huge, burning sun bearing the otherworldly pink Arctic light appears, casting the snowy
fields in shades of rose and gold. I should get going, I have a lot to do, but I'm mesmerized
and moved by the beauty of the sunrise that is unseen by those still sleeping snug in their
beds or sitting at their desks with less panoramic views than mine. From here in this ancient
barn converted into garages and storage units and a single office-mine-all I can see are fields
and trees and a small section of a big lake, now frozen solid. The only sign of human activity
I ever see from here is the occasional ice skater venturing out onto the lake, a black speck of
a being moving in slow, wide circles, like a fly". Liv Carlsen at work.

Liv and Adrian disappear and Selma who works for Norway's biggest newspaper in Oslo thinks that she should investigate it. Soon she thinks that their disappearance is somehow linked to the story she was working on about the models who are missing. Sometimes when ultra rich and older men get tired of these girls who don't keep modeling--some girls turn to escorts where they go to lavish parties and along with the fine champagne they get introduced to drugs. Then they get addicted and go missing . What happened to Liv and Adrian? Did they decide to leave of their own free will? Did something more sinister happen to them?

The writing was well above average despite my discomfort with the sometimes graphic violence. There is a major plot twist that I appreciated because I never saw it coming. This isn't something that most wouldn't have seen it coming either, but takes a talented author's skill and imagination. It ties the four different narrators into a cohesive explosive ending that is satisfying. This isn't for everyone, but for those less squeamish than I am I know it will succeed. A solid four stars!

Publication Date: 8-18-2022

Thank you to Net Galley, Alex Dahl and Head of Zeus-Aries for providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

#AfterShe'dGone #AlexDahl #HeadofZeusAries #NetGalley

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A fairly complex but rewarding psychological thriller that was worth making the effort to pause and have a think when needed ( usually in relation to timelimes ),well written and intriguing

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Liv keeps a low profile in Sandefjord, Norway: she's just another tired single mother, trying to make ends meet. She has never told her son about the secrets she carries or the life she lived before he was born. She will do anything to keep him safe.
Anastasia's life is transformed when she moves from Russia to Milan to work as a model. She's rich. She's desired. But there's a dark side to the high-pressure catwalk shows; the sun-baked Italian palazzos; the drink-fuelled after-parties hosted by powerful men. Soon, she will do anything to escape.
Selma is a journalist in Oslo. She's investigating scandals in the modelling industry, but can't get her article published. Then a woman goes missing in Sandefjord. Now Selma is about to uncover the biggest story of her life...
Really enjoyable read totally recommend
Thank You NetGalley and Head Of Zeus
I just reviewed After She'd Gone by Alex Dahl. #AfterShedGone #NetGalley

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Loved how the stories of the women connected together. A dark physiological thriller at its best well written and a great read.

Thanks to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for an early release of this book.

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This is a novel set in various parts of Europe, told from four perspectives. You have Adrian, a young neurodivergent boy, and his mother Liv that go missing early on in the novel. We also get the perspective of Selma, a reporter trying to track them down and Anastasia a model that is trying to find her way in the competitive world of Italian modeling. I enjoyed the differing perspectives and eagerly anticipated their intertwining. It did take me 15-20% of the book to get into it but after that I couldn’t put it down.
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This book looks at the dirty side of the fashion world and what happens to the girls that don’t make it. There is more than one mystery keeping this plot line moving forward and keeping you guessing.
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While some pieces I caught onto early, it felt like we were supposed to. Other parts had me guessing until the end.
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This is a great thriller {with TWs for sexual abuse and drug use} that I would recommend to any thriller lover.

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This unsettling and at times dark thriller immerses the reader in the sinister side of the fashion world in which young women, often from Eastern Europe, attracted by the prospect of travelling the world and striding the catwalks for big fashion houses discover the reality is quite, quite different. They find themselves drawn into a murky world of drugs and sexual exploitation in which men hold the power and aren’t afraid to use it. For the women, staying is risky, but leaving is even more so.

Investigative journalist Selma’s involvement comes about because of her role in investigating the previous disappearance of a young girl from the very same place as the missing woman – Sandefjord. (The case was the focus of the author’s previous book, Playdate.) Selma’s investigation takes her into a very murky world populated by extremely ruthless and, in some cases, very damaged individuals. I loved her strength, her fearlessness and her determination to get answers.

I confess I guessed some key aspects of the plot pretty early on but with this type of thriller you can never be sure the author’s not going to spring a surprise until you reach the final page, can you?

The standout element of the book for me was the wonderfully tender portrait of Adrian, a young boy who is different from other children. ‘Adrian craves freedom. He feels trapped in his own mind; he’s not like anyone else and he wishes he could fly away.’ He is obsessed with airplanes, loves watching them take off and land at the nearby airport, can spend hours absorbed in creating origami models of planes and knows the codes for every international airport. Contrary to what many think, he’s intelligent but often finds it difficult to communicate or express his feelings except through the ‘secret’ language his mother Liv has taught him. What he does know is there are things he must keep secret at all costs and, that if he’s to save his mother, he will have to be very brave. Spoiler: he is.

After She’d Gone is a taut, skilfully-crafted thriller that demonstrates all that glitters is not gold. It would make the perfect beach read.

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This is the 5th book I have read by this author and I think her best to date. Its hard hitting and brutal as well as being interesting and intriguing. It does cover some rather nasty topics but I am not a fan of trigger warnings as I fear they inject spoilers, but I can advise caution.
We start in Norway with Liv and her son Adrian. One the face of things we see a single mum who is simply doing her very best for her behaviourally challenged, but awesome son, who is obsessed with all things aeroplane. They mostly tick along quite nicely until one day Adrian receives a knock at the door from a big man, at the same time as Liv is approached on her way home. Both disappear.
Selma is a journalist and is given the assignment to investigate said disappearance, she having had success in assisting finding missing people before.
Meanwhile, we also follow a bunch of women who move from all over to Milan to follow their dreams of becoming big in fashion modelling. We see the glamour and glitz of all this. But there is a dark side...
And so begins a harrowing, brutal, hard hitting story which had me on the edge of my seat all the way through as it delivered punch after punch, shock after shock as the layer got slowly peeled back and the whole, nasty truth was finally exposed...
I loved this book. Even though the subject matter was brutal and oh so very credible. Just open a paper and you'll see stuff like this all coming out in the headlines. But the story was so well told. Hard hitting when it needed to be but never over the top for sake of being sensational.
Selma is a returning character from a previous book and it was lovely to reconnect with her. That said, it doesn't matter whether you have read Playdate before this one as they are not a series, but as I have read and loved all her previous books I would obviously recommend you stuff your tbr with all of them!
Pacing was good and there was also a balance between dark and light with some lovely lighter moments interspersed throughout the book which prevented it from going too depressing. It also starred some wonderful. well created, characters who all played their parts very well indeed.
Chock full of secrets, lies and duplicitous behaviour the plotting is tight and very well executed. Ramping up the tension throughout before finally revealing a rather shocking and satisfying ending. Roll on next time - after I have had a breather!
My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.

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This gripping, emotional story is told from four viewpoints. First and second are Liv and her nine-year-old son Adrian. Liv is deaf and fiercely devoted to her neuro-divergent son Adrian. Liv is supposedly a cleaner, but she has a secret past. They go missing. The third viewpoint is Anastasia, a Russian beauty plucked to be a high fashion model is Milan. She realizes that this fantasy life has a dark side. The fourth and final viewpoint is investigative reporter Selma, who is pulled off her story about the dark underbelly of the modeling industry to write a story about a missing woman and child. The stories eventually intersect. The author does an excellent job of bringing each character to life, particularly Adrian. This well-written, riveting story never lets up.

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**Many thanks to NetGalley, Head of Zeus, and Alex Dahl for an ARC of this book!**

Dark, deep, disturbing and dangerous!

Liv's son Adrian isn't like the other kids. Being neurodivergent, his peers don't understand him and he lives a somewhat isolated and private existence with his mom Liv (a la Emma Donoghue's room, minus the captivity) where the two share their own secret language. Adrian doesn't know much about his father, other than that he's bad. His world turns upside down, however, when he watches his mother's kidnapping...and has no idea where she's gone or how on earth he will find her.

Anastasia is a budding star on the rise. She enters the glamorous world of modelling, but quickly realizes all that glitters is far from gold. Everything from the sea of drugs and alcohol to the all-too-powerful men start to make her question her career choice...and long for her past. But now that she's embroiled in this life, is there an easy path out?

Selma is a journalist looking for answers. After being pulled from a story about the Dark Side of Modelling, she ends up investigating the disappearance of a certain young woman...a woman with a young son...but where will her investigation lead...and will she live to talk about it?

I've been wanting to try an Alex Dahl for ages, but I'll be honest: it was the flaming martini glass on this cover that caught my eye. (I mean, how do you top that?!) From chapter one, though, I came to realize that this is much less psychological thriller and much MORE of a Norwegian mystery-tinged story with an emotional background...and more heft than your average psycho-thriller will have on any given day.

So for much of this read, I felt pretty bogged down by the whole thing. The writing was HEAVY, which means no skimming...and I'll be honest, during Anastasia's sections especially, the urge to skim was strong. Liv and Adrian's narratives were interesting and of course detective Selma ties all of these plot threads together...but you have to have incredible patience and fortitude to get there. The descriptions of the locations are lovely, and it's always fun to hear about all the places I'll (probably) never get to go to in person *heavy sigh* BUT I still found my mind wandering quite a bit at times.

AND THEN everything changed at about 80%.. The plot points coalesced, everything came together, and it's full throttle from there on out. It was SUCH a change of pace that I almost wonder if Dahl plotted her ending and worked backwards (or had an ending in mind from jump, at least), as I know sometimes authors write this way and it would explain a lot! Even though I predicted one of the main twists, the rest of the plotting was fairly intricate and not so easy to guess...which took my rating up (thank goodness) and left me feeling satisfied.

If you're looking for a slow burn mystery with some meat on its bones, this is a GREAT place to start! (and if you learn how to make a flaming martini while you're at it...teach me how!)

3.5 rounded up to 4 for a spectacular ending!

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This is a well-written, gripping thriller taking a look at the dark side of the modeling world. The story is told from 4 different perspectives: model Anastasia, journalist Selma, secretive Liv and Liv’s son Adrian. All have very distinct voices and bring something unique to the table, but it was Adrian’s POV that I loved the most. The relationship between him and his mother is the true standout element of this novel.

Despite guessing a lot of the twist correctly, the way Dahl slowly reveals information through the different viewpoints kept me engaged. It was great to see how she brought everything together in quite an explosive finale.

One thing that has to be pointed out that this book truly showcases the horror the women in this book have to go through, so the violence it very graphic and might not be for everyone.

Overall, I was impressed with Dahl’s writing and cannot wait to check out her other books in the future!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

TW: violence, abuse, human trafficking and more (please check out a full list of trigger warnings before reading!)

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